Tuesday, 23 August 2011
Last night saw the coastal rowing episode Ag iomradh 's a' tarraing on the documentary series Trusadh on BBC Alba (watch it on iplayer - http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b013ngxk/Trusadh_Series_3_Ag_iomradh_s_a_tarraing_(Coastal_Rowing)/
We were all filmed so I didn't expect to feature quite so much. I'm fairly competent with a script or performance piece, but I know I'm rubbish at talking off the cuff. They only used footage of me speaking English though, not Gaelic.
It is surreal to see myself featured as part of something on the water. Now I just need to find a way of getting to that enticing stretch of water without a quad bike. City of Edinburgh council stop faffing about playing Tramwars and get stuck in to basic enviromental access please. The pavement improvements mean I am back in town now, but I still want to go for a wild swim without using wheels.
Btw, I'd like to thank the lovely Daibhidh Martin and his hard-working team from Stornaway for including Rowporty in this documentary.
Tuesday, 9 August 2011
July provided several scorching weekends, but still kept some sunshine back for that final Saturday, where skiffers from around Scotland descended on Portobello for the regatta.
Members of Rowporty had taken on roles of organising, assisting and generally working hard on all sorts of tasks, some on media and skiff club liason two months ahead, right through to those up with Andres Leslie at 6am to set up on the morning of the races. Many of the Rowporty juniors joined in too, selling locally grown lavender, and skiffy t shirts. It was all worth it - the day ran smoothly.
Smooth is more than can be said for the water. It started calm with bouncy surf, then became increasingly wild as the day progressed until the 3km triangular racecourse had to be shortened for safely. The afternoon pics taken by safety boat operator/ photographer Max Blinkhorn show what seem to be rocket skiffs.
He also got some birds' eye views of the beach crowds, thanks to Rowporty founder Ali Grant (first pic of blog)
The Swim Centre did sterling work running a boot camp on the sands and free fitness testing for visitors. Rowporty members, family and friends took turns to start, scoreboard and umpire the races, and help the dedicated catering corp run the hand-made cake stall, tea and coffee stall and BBQ. I think we surpassed ourselves on cakes this year. There's a rollcall of about fifty names for this work - thank you all.
This year we also had loudspeakers to let folk watching what was happening out at sea, but I think we could have used even more of them. Bob Jefferson of Porty Online and Stan Reeves (Rowporty AND the Tollcross small traditional boats assoc) did good work manning the mic all day. Thanks also go to nearby residents helping out with power and water.
This is the race course, drawn by Patsy James (who also designed the souvenir programme)
The race results are here, added by Osbert Lancaster: http://rowporty.org.uk/private/ufwuuphrAf
Prizes were awarded on the sands down from The Beach House, straight after the last race of the day, with lustre-glazed pottery medals made by Barbara Middleton, with the help of potter Alison Robinson, with sea ribbons made by Emma Griffiths and Barbara (pic by Penny Calder)
All flags, decor, yurts and boats had to be packed away at this point, and those leaving waved off, then the remaining competitors, their friends and families grabbed a change of clothing and a quick cuppa before heading to the Dalriada where the owner, Terry, had a new trophy waiting.
Stan Reeves and Dave Cooper were in charge of music and ents, with Port Seton winning the sea shanty singing competition on the prom, then providing an excellent encore. The beachy bonfire beckoned after that, with marshmallows for the kids and something significantly stronger for the adults.
Sunday had been considered a day for relaxed time on the water for all sorts of boats, though we realised belatedly that there wouldn't be any entertainment or stalls on land for onlookers and friends who hadn't been able to make the Saturday, then discovered on the day itself that Musselburgh, just around the corner, had a huge sea festival on the go, so lots of folk hopped onto the number 26 bus or onto their bikes and headed round.
We tiptoed past those guests still asleep, took the remaining skiffs, the currach and a sailing dinghy over to Fisherrow Harbour to salute the honest lad and honest lass as they blessed the sea as part of the sea festival, then headed back to Porty. Fortunately the sky was overcast, but it was still very warm.
On our return we found several new sails out on the water, including a couple of yachts, and the shoreline packed with colourful sailing dinghies waiting to set out. Sunday may have been quietly hungover, but it was wonderful to have so much company on the water, and to have the chance to crew each other's boats.
Footage of the regatta by Penny and David Calder can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pUQqV0-6qyI&feature=player_embedded
Photo galleries can be found on Rowporty.org or on Flickr's Scottish Coastal Rowing group: http://www.flickr.com/groups/scottishrowing/
Please add your photos too, or send them to Rowporty, along with any feedback to help us make next year's regatta even better. There were cameras (and sketchbooks http://edinburghsketcher.com/2011/07/31/portobello-regatta-2011/) all around us!
If anyone would like to take part in next year's Portobello regatta, we have room on the prom for many, many stalls and entertainers and would love to see it looking like a beach fete. Contact morag.edward(at)rowporty.org.uk to find out more.
(Portobello beach, deserted at breakfast time on Sunday morning - photo by Lee Kindness)
Monday, 8 August 2011
If I was less ill and had some kind of powered trike with good shock absorbers, I could be tempted to try some of this for myself. The idea of trundling into a remote village and finding pals sunbathing/ singing/ snoozing outside the local pub is an enticing one.
Pauline http://symaniak.blogspot.com/ left Edinburgh last summer to cycle round the world. Graham http://gkitch.blogspot.com/ joined her last autumn to cycle across Argentina with her, and is cycling with her again this summer, this time making a documentary about their expedition across North America 'Sleepless til Seattle'.
Graham's video diary is on youtube as well https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DVaNNNbQPkk&feature=player_embedded and recently they were featured on the news http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UAbQ6GkmIWA
Graham and Pauline passed Fargo, the American centre point - and celebrated Pauline's first year on the road - last month, and were featured on the news http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UAbQ6GkmIWA
Tom http://ruggcat.wordpress.com/ is cycling across Europe on a very stylish recumbant, funding the trek as he goes by working as a street performer. He left Edinburgh at the start of the summer, his entire kit is in a little trailer, which has been dragged behind him through every weather condition and road surface (or lack of) so far. Currently in Northern Germany, Tom has covered over 2000km and entertained onloookers in 5 countries over 75 days. He's a bloody good performer.